Multiple Scale Reorganization of Electrostatic Complexes of PolyStyrene Sulfonate and Lysozyme

Abstract : We report on a SANS investigation into the potential for these structural reorganization of complexes composed of lysozyme and small PSS chains of opposite charge if the physicochemical conditions of the solutions are changed after their formation. Mixtures of solutions of lysozyme and PSS with high matter content and with an introduced charge ratio [-]/[+]intro close to the electrostatic stoichiometry, lead to suspensions that are macroscopically stable. They are composed at local scale of dense globular primary complexes of radius ~ 100 Å; at a higher scale they are organized fractally with a dimension 2.1. We first show that the dilution of the solution of complexes, all other physicochemical parameters remaining constant, induces a macroscopic destabilization of the solutions but does not modify the structure of the complexes at submicronic scales. This suggests that the colloidal stability of the complexes can be explained by the interlocking of the fractal aggregates in a network at high concentration: dilution does not break the local aggregate structure but it does destroy the network. We show, secondly, that the addition of salt does not change the almost frozen inner structure of the cores of the primary complexes, although it does encourage growth of the complexes; these coalesce into larger complexes as salt has partially screened the electrostatic repulsions between two primary complexes. These larger primary complexes remain aggregated with a fractal dimension of 2.1. Thirdly, we show that the addition of PSS chains up to [-]/[+]intro ~ 20, after the formation of the primary complex with a [-]/[+]intro close to 1, only slightly changes the inner structure of the primary complexes. Moreover, in contrast to the synthesis achieved in the one-step mixing procedure where the proteins are unfolded for a range of [-]/[+]intro, the native conformation of the proteins is preserved inside the frozen core.
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Fabrice Cousin, Jérémie Gummel, Daniel Clemens, Isabelle Grillo, François Boué. Multiple Scale Reorganization of Electrostatic Complexes of PolyStyrene Sulfonate and Lysozyme. Langmuir, American Chemical Society, 2010, 26 (10), pp.7078-7085. ⟨10.1021/la904398z⟩. ⟨hal-00495487⟩

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